Wednesday, 2 March 2011

hand made tales

Tradition is a funny thing, we carry forward age old traditions without really knowing it. It's just something we do, part of us. Our history, our family, our future.

an unfinished quilt - hours of hand stitching abandoned for who knows what reason

Yesterday I snuck out all by myself for a mooch around the city. I started at the Hand Made Tales exhibition at the Women's Library. I wasn't sure what to expect but I've heard a lot about this place and was pleasantly surprised. Despite being empty (just me at one point) it was very welcoming and very comforting. Phrases like 'I remember those', 'Oh we had one too', 'that's just like ours' kept popping into my mind. 
a lady made this dressing gown for her daughter, who then chose to wear it as a coat

It was all so familiar, I don't think I'd realised before just how much I do, by hand. There were examples of patchwork, crochet, knitting, cooking, gardening, baking, dress making, embroidery, the sharing of recipe books and ideas. It was really inspiring, and completely in touch with all the blogs I find myself reading and the lifestyle choices so many people seem to be returning to these days.

the pearly queen outfit - all those buttons! - just wonderful

Every item on display had a personal tale to go with it, it was like having a chat with someone from 40 years ago or so. There is family history in everything we make, tales from where the fabric came from, who chose the colours, what techniques came from overseas with our ancestors, it all shapes our children's future memories and the way they will see their childhood and selves. It's what they will have fond connections with and the times they will remember every time they fold that blanket or smell a favourite jam. 

some have-a-go knitting, I didn't want to drop all the stitches so left it alone

I came away totally inspired and reminded that what I do matters, that it's what thousands of women before us have done and that I'm not being completely selfish and crafting just to fulfill my needs - it's important to our families too. 
I wonder what will happen to all the things I/we make in the future and how people will respond to them if they happen to end up in an exhibition in 60 years time. I suspect it will comfort and inspire the future generations too.

 a place to pass on recipes and tips

There's more to come from my much needed day out, but I need to get to bed. x


  1. Looks like an interesting exhibition. We should celebrate all those skills - some done out of necessity, but all done with love.

  2. Its a lovely thought to think that the things we make could end up in an exhibition like that...

  3. Thats amazing. I shall have to go. Very jealous of a sneeky day out. Well done.


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